Here’s my latest work after about a week hiatus. Unfortunately, my posts will be fewer as we progress due to… life.
Title: Desert Pathway
Time Spent: 4 hours
Assets Used: Unreal Vehicle Demo Pack
I spent a lot of time on this project learning more about Unreal’s special effects. There was a lot of trial and error while trying to determine the right amount of fog, and the color of the sky/clouds. Something about this scene seems barren, which isn’t illogical considering it’s a desert, but the lone cactus in the front view seems slightly out of place.
I decided to record a video of myself working on this project. If there’s positive feedback, I will likely continue doing more of them; they make great portfolio pieces. Check it out!
As always, I look forward to reading your criticism and feedback. The comments you guys have been leaving so far have been awesome!
Up until now, my work has felt unrefined, which only makes sense considering how new I am to working with Unreal 4. My latest project however, is the work that I’m most proud of thus far, because it actually resembles something remotely professional.
Title: Foggy Cave Entrance
Time Spent: 4 hours
Assets Used: Unreal Particle Effects Collection / Unreal Water Planes
I’m starting to discover and utilize more Unreal 4 tools as I become more comfortable with the platform, and I’m really enjoying the results. This particular scene had me playing around with lighting, exponential height fog tools, and various fog shoot/light ray blueprints. A lot of this scene was developed as a result of trial and error, and I think that my knowledge of natural environments might be translating to my level design.
I didn’t have too much time, so there are no gameplay elements in this particular project yet.
I also think that my photo composition skills might be improving as well, but who knows.
This project was inspired by my time playing Ark: Survival Evolved, an open-world game featuring dinosaurs. When it was first released, Ark had only one map available to all players named ‘The Island’. The Island was an enormous 36-square kilometer level featuring different regions with varying heat levels, height discrepancies, and underwater portions. It even had massive cavernous regions featuring subterranean animals that can only be found in the dark underground complexes. These cave sequences were eerie and were lit by a number of bright, colorful mushrooms, and I loved the aesthetic, so I wanted to recreate something similar.
This was my attempt:
Title: Mushroom Caverns
Time Spent: 3 hours
Assets Used: Luos Free Caves
Luos provides a free sample caves package with a bunch of great assets, and this cave sequence was created entirely using the pack. Caves can be extremely varied and random, so I wanted to avoid making things too uniform. The mushrooms are practically the only source of lighting in the caverns, so I emphasized their effect using point lights. I have a lot to learn about lighting and I feel that this first step was a huge leap forward.
What are your thoughts on the cave? Do you have any lighting advice?
Here’s a project based in a fictional Northern mountain range. I’d say a lot of inspiration for this project comes from random pictures of Canada I came across, as well as various open-world video games (Skyrim in particular).
I wanted to try my hand at a Winter scene and ended up producing this after a good amount of time. To date, this is probably the longest project in my practice series, taking roughly 8 hours to complete across three days. One of my biggest issues when working on this scene was running into a creative wall, where I disliked my progress with the level, but had no idea as to how I’d fix it.
Here’s what I had after a few hours of work:
I think the problem was my lack of knowledge when it came to natural environments. As a level designer, I’m beginning to realize that I need to hone my understanding of various environments, and that I should be actively taking in information as I browse through pictures or stroll through the city. I need to understand the nature of each environment that I encounter so that I can accurately reproduce them within a game, otherwise my scenes will look lifeless, improper, and incoherent. With due time and active analysis, I think that I can begin developing my strengths as a proper level designer and fully utilize the tools at my disposal to their true potential.
This project also took significantly longer than my previous ones because I wanted to incorporate actual level design. Up until now, my projects were more like ‘speed design’ studies where I would quickly develop a scene purely for aesthetic. This level actually allows the player to walk around, and introduces branching paths and skill gates for playability. I’m currently using a simple FPS template, so there are no unique mechanics to add to the level, so I may add those via blueprint in future work.
Here’s a quick video I put together showcasing the (semi)completed level:
This level was created using assets from Unreal’s ‘Stylized Rendering’ demo, which contained models and textures with an artistic, cartoon-like aesthetic.
I wanted to create a scenic view of a path leading towards a capital city surrounded by castle walls, and I feel like this was a decent first attempt. I wanted to create a level that felt bright and diverse, and I feel like these assets were the perfect fit. If I were to improve on this, I think that I would fix some tree placement, and add a little more detail to the city in the background.